"One day, a man who was visiting Mount Athos asked several wise elders, the following question, 'What is the most important thing in your life?'  Each time he was answered like this:  'It is divine love; to love God and to love one's neighbor'.  He said, 'I don't have love, either for prayer, or for God, or for other people.  What must I do?'  And then  he decided by himself:   'I will act as if I had this love'.  Thirty years later, the Holy Spirit gave him the grace of love."

"Inevitably, there will be hours, weeks, years, when we shall live without perceiving the action of the Holy Spirit in ourselves.  These are important periods, when we have the chance to demonstrate the fidelity of our love for Christ.   Even if we cannot perceive the action of grace, we must live as if the Spirit was with us.  Staretz Silhouan was of the opinion that if we keep the commandments of Christ faithfully, the time will come when grace will manifest itself and remain always with us.  So it is useless to be in a hurry.  Some fathers on Mount Athos received great grace and knew God only after forty years of struggles, and sometimes even longer, just before their death."

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